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Wilton's Friends School Celebrates Peace Day

WILTON, Conn. – Wilton's Connecticut Friends School held a barn-raising last week to launch its Woven House project and at the same time celebrate International Day of Peace .

"The Woven House will be an outdoor classroom for our school, providing space for peaceful retreat and reflection, conflict resolution, as well as creative activities," says Kim Tsocanos, one of the school’s founders.

In recognition of the International Day of Peace, students, teachers and students’ parents took part in a ceremony of peace around the new Woven House structure. They constructed the frame of the building, assembled the jute twine warp for the walls and made fabric pennants, illustrated with images and phrases about peace, that were used as the first weft materials woven into the walls.

Students also designed and built a log bench, gathered flooring materials and provided musical accompaniment for community singing. Pita bread was provided by the youngest students, who baked it earlier in the day on an outdoor oven with their teachers and a parent from their class. The students also made peace doves to spread feelings of peace and hand-signed a song sung by all.

The ceremony included this quote by Gerard Vanderhaar: "The story of the human race is characterized by efforts to get along much more than by violent disputes, although it's the latter that make the history books. Violence is actually exceptional. The human race has survived because of cooperation, not aggression."

The Woven House project was developed by Chelsea Danburg, fiber arts teacher, who also wrote the successful grant proposal for the project. She designed the 8-foot-by-8-foot structure with her father, architect Louis Mackall, and it was built by him in his shop, Breakfast Woodworks of Guilford .

CFS has been awarded two grants by the Friends Council on Education for the Woven House project. This hands-on endeavor will play a significant role in classroom learning about the Quaker beliefs in simplicity, peace, integrity, community, equality and stewardship. The Woven House will be a catalyst for conversation with the students regarding how sharing world resources contributes to peace.

This collaborative undertaking will "weave" together a multitude of the school’s disciplines, including math, humanities, fiber arts, carpentry and outdoor education. Students will assemble the posts and roof, and weave the walls for the Woven House. The creation of the Woven House will be on-going this school year, and is an opportunity for meditative artistry and cooperation.

Connecticut Friends School is the only Quaker elementary/middle school in Connecticut. The main campus is at 317 New Canaan Road in Wilton, with an auxiliary campus on the Westport/Norwalk town line at 440 Newtown Ave. in Norwalk. The Woven House is being constructed on the Norwalk campus.

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